Apothic Rosé 2012

The 2012 vintage of the Apothic Rosé Limited Release California ‘First Cut’ was a mild surprise and one I didn’t expect. But then again, I never know what to expect from a bottle of wine I’ve never tried before.  I picked this up due to the fact I really enjoy the Apothic Red Blend and figured I would like to try this to see how it would compare to other Rosés’ and was pleased with the whole wine experience on this one.

First, this must be chilled to enjoy the complete wine. Second, you can have this with food or have it by itself. I decided to have this with stuffed green peppers & long grain rice. I wasn’t sure how this was going to pair. The sweetness of the wine complemented the roasted pepper with meat filling much better than I anticipated.

The color of the wine was that of raspberry lemonade and per the back label, was a description of its hue “…its vibrant hue from an ancient wine making practice called saignée, which means ‘to bleed’ intense color from the grape’s red skin”. Hmmm, wonder if that equates to raspberry lemonade?? The wine has medium acidity with 13% alcohol by volume and I picked this up for $8.99 ($11 average price from several different wine sites I visited).

Guess you want to know what the aromas and flavors were, huh? On the nose were aromas of apple, strawberry, berry, watermelon, and cherry. This is a blend of Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon which produced flavors of strawberry and watermelon and didn’t really have much of a finish to it. There was a dash of sweetness to the wine, more so than in other Rosés’ I’ve had in the past. I’m thinking this would be much more suited to the warmer climates sipping out on the deck on a hot summer night.

 

Small and Small At Large 2012

Not the strangest name I’ve heard and yes, this is another selection from NakedWines.  Again, this has a screw top closure and has an alcohol content of 14.2%. Actually the six bottles of wine I received were all screw tops – what is the wine industry coming to? Although I do recognize the dilemma wineries face with cork and the possibility of losing up to 3% of your wine production can be costly.

Back to the Small and Small At Large, The color of the wine was dark red and I got black cherry, blackberry, strawberry, tobacco and leather notes on the nose which was quite pleasing. On the palate was a dominant black cherry flavor with hints of strawberry jam more so than fresh strawberries. I don’t have an issue with either flavor as I’m fond of fresh strawberry and strawberry jam (if it’s seedless).

The wine was decent for the price but for a very young wine (2012 vintage) the first sip seemed to be a bit flat or should I say it didn’t have that spark that glitters in your eye when tasting a wine. I did notice however that after a day or two in the pantry, the wine improved in flavor. I wouldn’t think a young wine would require a lot of decanting. Normally I pour this through my aerator but didn’t. I’ll remember next time though. You can find this at the Angel’s price of $8.50 (regular price of $19.99 – I wouldn’t buy this at that price) but the majority of wine sites I searched were selling this wine at under the $10 range.

Jacqueline Bahue Rosé Lodi 2012

The Jacqueline Bahue Rosé Lodi 2012 has an ABV of 12.3% and is the second of six bottles I received from NakedWines. Still a bottle of wine with a screw top closure (will I ever see a cork again???), at least I didn’t have to search for the corkscrew – like that’s really a problem huh? Anyway, this had a fruit punch color but stopped there as it began with a very nice fresh strawberry aroma. After swirling it for a bit I was able to detect a nice floral bouquet with hints of Peach Melba. And at the very end I picked out a hint of tart cranberry. I’ll have to tell you I was quite pleased with what I smelled so far as it gave me hope that the flavor would follow the nose’s lead so to speak.

On the palate a nice burst of fresh strawberry flavor abounded past the ‘ol taste buds and found ripe apricot on the back palate. Oh, but that wasn’t the end of the experience as the aftertaste was of creamy strawberry yogurt. This wine costs $14.99 on the Naked Wines website (see above link) but if you’re an “Angel” (still need to do my homework on this) the cost drops to $8.99, but I did find where this sells for around $8.99 on most sites I searched.

We paired this with baked chicken breasts (skinless) with a BBQ sauce concoction of Jack Daniels BBQ, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco brand hot sauce. We accompanied the chicken with Rice Pilaf (chicken style) and mixed veggies (regrettably from the can, but we survived) and surprisingly the wine and food went quite well. I also tried this stand alone and this would make a great summer sipping wine out on the deck on a warm summer eve with a bunch of friends to hang out with.

 

 

A Late Quartet (2012)

Christopher Walken plays Peter Mitchell, who has recently been diagnosed with a medical condition that will end his tenure as the Fugue String Quartet’s cellist and leader for the past twenty-five years. The ensuing story is one that sees Peter as a paternalistic figure struggling with emotions about his own life as well as the quartet’s. Robert Gelbart (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is the second violin, much to his chagrin but he stays the course for the sake of the group. His wife, Juliette (Catherine Keener) is the viola player. Daniel Lerner (Mark Ivanir) is the first violin and most conceited of the quartet, who has an affair with Alexandra (Imogen Poots) who just happens to be Robert & Juliette’s daughter.

From the beginning of the movie, competing egos, undisciplined passions, up/down emotions and friendships are tested from the opening scene to the last fade out. I won’t give away all the specifics. I chose this movie because I am a Christopher Walken fan but not one of Hoffman’s. Not only was I surprised with Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance I was knocked over by Walken’s, as I did not expect to see this side of him. You’ll have to see this for your own benefit. Oh, and don’t forget to add butter to the popcorn. And go ahead – get some Goober’s, Sno-Caps, Milk Duds, Junior Mints, Jucy Fruits, Dots, Jujubes and the Raisinets. Oh, what the heck, get the Good & Plenty too. Go all out…

 

 

 

Jim Olsen Fair Angel 2012

Seeing as the holidays are over and might be some of the best and worst times of the year. Shoppers abound with good intent only to come home frustrated and tired with little to show for their efforts. Crowds are at an enormous level testing the small amount of patience we have left after we cannot find a parking spot – and we haven’t even started shopping yet. Even e-shoppers get the blues with out of stock items and Internet glitches.

However, we do have the ability to relieve all that stress of getting over the holidays by experimenting with new wines. I received a coupon from my brother for $50 off wine from NakedWines. So, I opted for one of their packages and selected a six-pack of wine which cost me a total of $11.68 for the six bottles which included the cost of shipping. I really can’t complain about the price but that never stopped me before… Seeing as the holidays were over and I wanted to start getting back into trying wines again I decided it was time to experiment with the wines I just received.

The first of the 6 bottles I opened was a Jim Olsen Fair Angel 2012 red wine from California. I couldn’t find out a whole lot about this wine other than the Naked Wine website. All I know is this – it’s a red blend (not sure of the grape varietals) and that’s about it…This had an ABV of 13.8% and a screw top closure. Both the aroma and flavor was dominated by black cherry – a real strong black cherry. It was difficult for me to pick out anything else but the black cherry. However, given enough time I was able to detect a bit of blackberry on the nose, nothing more on the palate though. I had this stand alone and the following day it did seem to have a bit more body and flavor but not much. According to the Naked Wine website this costs $24.99 (regular cost), $10.99 (Angel price) – I’d have to do more research on what constitutes an “Angel”. This wine leaned toward the semi-sweet scale rather than a semi-dry red wine. More to come on the other bottles I received and of course from the other 50 or so bottles in my wine cellar that I have not tried yet. Well – best I get to drinking…uh, I mean tasting those wines! Will they be gems???

RH Phillips 2000 Dunnigan Hills Cabernet Sauvignon

This bottle of RH Phillips Dunnigan Hills (sorry about the blurry picture) still had a real cork closure and not the screw tops this particular brand went to. I can remember the last time I opened this bottle of wine and it was pretty good. Although this wine was good it didn’t have the intensity it did when I opened another bottle about a decade ago.

I think I bought two of these back ten years ago and the first bottle was pretty good. And if you know me at all you know I can be very patient when it comes to cellaring wine to see how it ages throughout the years.

When you have high hopes for a brand of wine, you sometimes wait a bit too long to open a bottle of wine. I should have opened this a few years ago but it was still a decent wine as it didn’t disappoint with red cherry, red currant and red plum aromas.

On the palate I found flavors of red & black cherry, red & black currant, and red & dark plum. The flavors were decent enough but as I mentioned earlier the intensity and “pop’ of the wine was lacking.

Again, we paired this wine with a beef tenderloin with a baked potato and green beans & steamed broccoli. No dessert followed much to our chagrin but hey we don’t always have a dessert after a good meal. I just need to get better at knowing when to open a cellared bottle of wine.

Guess I need more experience, huh?

Adelaida 2009 Claudia

*Disclaimer: I received this wine from Griffin Estate Wines

The day started off with a brisk 50 minute walk around the neighborhood, then a few cups of coffee and a mindset that this was going to be a relaxing day. Well, my better half had other plans as she decided that cleaning the vinyl siding of our house was her project for the day. After 41 years of marriage, she pretty much has me pegged and knowing that eventually I’d come out of my relaxing day to help out. Yeah, I’m one of those that likes to procrastinate about household projects – and it works for me!

I decided that I’d give the power washer we bought a few of years ago a try. It took a couple of yanks but it eventually came to life and we added some detergent to the machine and started cleaning the house. It took about two hours with running to the local hardware store for a set of “o” rings that fell apart while washing the siding but it was finally finished. We couldn’t believe the results as it almost looked as if we just got the house re-painted.

Word to the wise though, if you decide to power wash your home do it when it’s the middle of summer with ambient temperatures reaching the mid-90s, not in October with temps at 68 degrees. Both my wife and I were soaked to the bone and chilled, although I did put on a raincoat about halfway through. So, after a long hot shower I decided it was time to make the noon day meal and open a bottle of wine to start the whole process.

After opening the bottle of wine to let it breath a bit, I seasoned two beef tenderloins that were about 2 1/2 inches thick with fresh cracked pepper and sea salt. Although we are the tale of two cooks concerning the “doneness” of the steaks as my wife prefers a medium to well done cooked center (hence I’ve gotten used to butterflying one steak) and mine are usually ‘mooing’ to me when it hits my plate. But I’ve gotten pretty good with setting the outdoor grill to about 400 degrees and grilling the tenderloins at about 6-8 minutes on one side, then 4-6 minutes on the other side. Whiling I was grilling the steaks the other cook was preparing garlic mashed potatoes and wax beans to finish off the meal. And of course I have to have freshly cut Italian bread too.

What really amazed me was the wine we opened to serve with the meal. Adelaida is in the Paso Robles region which consistently produces great wine. And the 2009 Claudia was no exception. It has a deep garnet color with pretty decent tannins. The 2009 Claudia has an ABV of 14.5% and is a red blend of Grenache (38%), Mourvedre (29%), Syrah (20%), Cinsault (11%) and Counoise (2%) and if you’ve read this blog long enough you know I’m particularly fond of red blends. It’s reasonably priced as I researched the following sites at WineWise, Ancona’s, and Wine-Searcher for price ranges. They all showed $19.99.

It opened with a very dominate black raspberry jam aroma but after swirling in my wine glass, a black cherry aroma emerged to open my ‘nose’ senses. Then after repeating the swirling process a few more times, a very pleasant concoction of tobacco, forest floor, wild mushroom, moss and boysenberry aromas awoke to finish off the experience. It took a while to open the aromas but when it did open it was wonderful. I got flavors of black currant, boysenberry, black cherry, thyme, cigar box and pepper. A slight hint of anise was found on the back palate. This wine was great as either a stand alone wine (I had another glass of this wine after lunch while reading in the sunny portion of the deck) or served with a meal. This would also be a great wine to bring to a party as you know it would be received well by the most discriminating of wine palates.

My wife thought it was fantastic and we don’t always agree on wine selections. But I do know if she says its “fantastic”, then it’s a really good wine because her wine rating system is “I like it” or “I don’t like it” which varies from my 1-10 wine glasses rating system.  I’m hoping I can get my hands on a case before it is sold out as I’m excited about having this as a staple in the Witless Whiner’s Cellar.

Oh, did I mention we topped off the wine experience with a Reese’s Pieces Hot Fudge Sundae? Well, it was almost a perfect match for the wine but a chocolate cheesecake may have been the ideal dessert for this particular opened bottle. Maybe on the next bottle perhaps…

 

Cape Cod

Now that the summer holidays are behind us it still isn’t too late to enjoy a drink in a great weekend getaway place such as Cape Cod. For one thing the crowds will be thinned out so that at least you’ll be able to walk around without bumping into a lot of tourists. Although there may be a chill in the morning air it should be enjoyable (unless of course you’re a hot weather person, then you should be in Miami, not Cape Cod), go for a long walk along the beach or take a nature hike, then stop in a tavern and order a Cape Cod – what else were you thinking?

4 parts cranberry juice to 1 part Vodka, pour into a highball glass, add ice and stir, garnish with a lime wedge or two.

 

For the un-Un-Whined crowd: substitute lime juice for the Vodka, garnish with a lime slice instead of a lime wedge.

Kitchen Sink NV Red Table Wine

I couldn’t resist picking up this bottle for the name alone. So, I had not a clue as to what this would bring to the kitchen table – no pun intended, nah I intended that! Anyway, I’m always in the market for new wines and sometimes I strike it rich, and sometimes not.

This was a fairly decent wine with 12.5% ABV and around $18 for a 750 ml bottle. I had every intention of having this with food. It was supposed to be served with grilled chicken and a fresh garden salad but it just didn’t work out that way, hey – it happens!

It started off with really great aromas of blackberry, boysenberry, elderberry, damp forest floor with hints of moss and earth. So, seeing as this is a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah I can understand all the great aromas.

On the palate I got blackberry, black raspberry, dark plum, fig, and black currant flavors. The downside to this wine was the flavors, albeit plentiful, lacked any sustainability. That is, the flavors didn’t last long plus with the $18 price tag I was expecting a bit more. So, pick up a bottle and check it out. You may get a much different impression than I did. Maybe we can compare notes.

 

Mawson’s Hill Block 3 Wrattonbully 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon

If you’ve followed this blog long enough then you know I’m not a big fan of Australian wines. I have a tough time wrapping my arms around them. Many of my oenophile friends keep telling me I have to try this one or that one but I never seem to get the chance. So I picked this one on a whim with a cost of around $20 and an ABV of 14.5%.

The Wrattonbully wine region is in Southern Australia’s Limestone Coast which is in the southeastern corner of the state bordering Victoria. The red wines from this region are the mainstay of the Wrattonbully region. The Cabernet Sauvignon varietal is the most planted with Shiraz and Merlot right behind it.

I bought this particular bottle for two reasons. One being I’ve heard good things about the Wrattonbully region and of course the other being that I’m still prodded by my fellow oenophiles to keep trying Australian wines as they’re confident I’ll find one I like eventually.

I may have just found it. This is a medium bodied red wine with nice tannins. On the nose were aromas of mint (yeah, go figure), berry flavors with hints of minerals and earthy notes. The flavors were of elderberry, mulberry, dark berry, and plum. We had this with Bison burgers and it was a good match.